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Pak media hopes new PM won't be a 'puppet'

Pakistani media welcome veteran PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gillani's nomination as Pakistan's new prime minister, but hope that he would not be a "a puppet on a string."

world Updated: Mar 23, 2008 22:57 IST

Pakistani media on Sunday welcomed veteran PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gillani's nomination as Pakistan's new prime minister, but hoped that he would not be a "a puppet on a string" and can successfully tackle all the gargantuan challenges facing the strife-torn nation.

"If this is the beginning of the new, democratic era, one wonders how things will go when the PPP government is finally in the saddle and goes about meeting the gargantuan challenges facing the nation," the leading Pakistani daily Dawn said in its editorial on Sunday.

Terming Gillani as the first PPP prime ministerial candidate who "is not a Bhutto", the editorial said "We hope the country will have a prime minister empowered to tackle the challenges, rather than a puppet on a string with real authority lying elsewhere in the party hierarchy."

Ending a month-long suspense, the Pakistan People's Party, which emerged the largest group in last month's general election, on Saturday named 55-year-old Gillani as its prime ministerial candidate for the coalition government to be formed with the support of the PML-N, Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

The paper further highlighted the daunting task before the new government would be "to restore the nation's confidence in the administration's ability to look after the people's welfare and work with speed to ameliorate the citizens' hardships.

The editorial goes on to add that the new government has to develop a new policy based on national consensus to deflate religious extremism and terrorism in the country.

Another national daily The News also came in support of Gillani, stating "the choice of the former speaker of the National Assembly, who had been one of the prime targets of General Pervez Musharraf's eight-year rule, reflects political sagacity and maturity and needs to be welcomed.

"Coming from the Seraiki region of Punjab, Mr Gilani will bring the respect, vision and wisdom of the saints who based themselves in the region to spread their message of peace, love and co-existence.

"Vindication and embarrassment apart, Mr Gillani will be stepping into a minefield of enormous and immediate political, economic and social challenges, it said in its editorial piece.

Reflecting upon the current political scenario in Pakistan, the daily said "the new government will hardly be expected to get any honeymoon".